April 8, 2004 Selma, North Carolina – Doug Holloman is thirty years old and has lived in Selma all his life. In 1997, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina. Since then, he and his family have been working their family farm, raising tobacco, soybeans, wheat and sweet potatoes, but no animals except pet dogs.On Wednesday, March 31, 2004, at 2 p.m., Doug was working his tractor in a 20 acre field when he noticed a dead animal laying on it side. He thought it was either a coyote or dog.
Doug Holloman, Farmer, Selma, North Carolina: “Then when I went across the road to the next field, I saw three deer carcasses that had been thrown out, it looked like by a hunter. We have a problem with that in this area when people after hunting season, people just dispose of deer carcasses. They just find an isolated area and throw them out.
At the end of the field on the side where the deer carcasses were, I then saw two dogs, yellowish-cream colored hair. They looked like they had possibly been there well over a month. Our temperatures have fluctuated pretty much around here, but it’s been maybe colder than normal this year. So, the bodies were pretty well intact. That alerted me. I continued on and saw another dead dog which appeared to be a black German shepherd. It clicked, ‘Something is wrong.’
I had my cell phone with me and called Animal Control just to ask them if they could come out. They told me they thought the Sheriff’s Department had been investigating some dog kills in the area. So, I gave them a call and they said they would be out within an hour.
I continued working in the field and found one more animal which was a fox that was dead. So I got off the tractor and walked around to see what conditions all the animals were in. There are no houses within a mile or two out there. The dogs were so close together and they looked like they had walked to the edge of the woods and just laid down and died.
SO THEY WERE AL LAYING ON THEIR SIDES?
They were all on their sides.
THE NEWSPAPER SAID YOU HAD FOUND THREE DEAD DEER, THREE DEAD DOGS AND TWO DEAD FOXES. IS THAT WRONG?
When the Sheriff came out, we were undecided about the animal I found across the road. The officer said he wasn’t sure there were any coyotes in the area, so he wrote down two foxes. But I’ve been back to the area and I talked with someone and we do have coyotes in the area. You don’t see them very often. My observation is that I think it was a coyote.
WAS THERE ANY CUTS OR BLOOD ON THOSE EIGHT ANIMALS?
No, the German Shepherd appeared to be very swollen and the abdomen was split open.
SPLIT? YOU MEAN HAD BEEN MANUALLY CUT IN SOME WAY?
No, I’m guessing it was from swelling. The intestines were visible on the dog.
DID THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE COLLECT ANY OR ALL OF THESE ANIMALS TO HAVE FORENSIC WORK DONE?
To my knowledge, no.
THE ANIMALS ARE STILL THERE?
Yes, except the deer. I was told to cover those because we thought those might be the source of a poisoning and the sheriff advised me to cover the deer up.
NO ONE DID ANY PATHOLOGY ON THE COYOTE, FOX OR DOGS?
They said possibly they would send someone in since there was another investigation being conducted by the FBI close by of some more dog kills. I went back two days later and everything was still intact the way it had been.
THE SANDY BATTEN FAMILY IS ACROSS HE ROAD FROM THE PLACE WHERE THE FBI IS INVESTIGATING FIVE OTHER DEAD DOGS. HOW FAR IS THAT FROM YOU?
About a mile up the road.
YOU WOULD THINK THAT THE FBI WOULD HAVE BEEN ON YOUR PLACE DOING AN EXAMINATION IMMEDIATELY.
Yes. I have not seen anyone and no one has contacted me. I had contact with several people in the neighborhood whose dogs have died in the past couple of years. This was after I did a TV interview with one of the local TV stations. They came out and did some video, but they didn’t do any of the dogs only where the deer were laying.
WHEN THE JOHNSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CAME OUT, DID THEY TAKE ANY PHOTOGRAPHS?
Not at the time, no.
WHAT KIND OF EXAMINATION OR INVESTIGATION DID THEY DO?
When I was there, one deputy came out and I showed him the area. We walked around and I showed him the dogs, coyote and fox. He did visual examination and made a report. But that’s all I’m aware of.
I’M SO SURPRISED THAT SOMEBODY DID NOT WANT TO GET SOME PART OF THESE ANIMALS TO A VETERINARIAN PATHOLOGIST.
Well, I asked if possibly if they would like to do an autopsy to find out what caused the poisoning on these animals. I was told it would be my expense to do that.
THAT’S STRANGE, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF AN FBI INVESTIGATION ONE MILE AWAY OF FIVE OTHER DEAD ANIMALS.
Yes, I wondered if they wanted to come out and get the animals and I didn’t bother anything in the area of any of the animals, assuming that someone would come out. As far as I know, no one has, other than just seeing the area where they were.
Human Cruelty? Or Environmental Contamination?
YOU HAVEN’T FOUND ANY MORE DEAD ANIMALS IN THE PAST WEEK?
No, I haven’t. But three weeks prior to these dead animals, I had noticed another dead animal about 100 yards up the road from the area. It was a dead dog laying in a field about 20 yards from the road. I don’t know if he had been hit. But now, I’m sort of tying in with what I’ve seen. Perhaps that dog was also poisoned.
WHAT IS THE WATER SOURCE FOR ANIMALS IN THAT AREA?
There are a couple of streams and creeks.
ANY REPORTS OF CONTAMINATION BY INDUSTRIES OR MINES?
ANY IN THE AREA?
No, the closest thing is a golf stream that is downstream.
ANY MILITARY FACILITIES ANYWHERE NEAR YOU?
No. (Actually, Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro is approximately 20 to 25 miles from Selma.)
HOW FAR ARE YOU FROM RALEIGH?
Timewise we’re 35 minutes from Raleigh. Mileage maybe 50 miles. The FBI is working on the idea that someone is poisoning dogs and animals in the area, which I was not aware of until I found the eight dead animals on my property.
YOU MEAN HUMANS DELIBERATELY POISONING?
Yes. And the dumped deer might have been what was poisoned so the dogs and other animals would eat on them.”
If anyone has any information about what could be poisoning animals in the Selma, North Carolina region, please call:
Johnston County Sheriff’s Office
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